Sophie Hamer

NZ Registered Architect practicing
Basel, Switzerland
Oppenheim Architecture Europe / PORTICO

Outside NZ
Available For Hire
Mentorship - you can select both: 
Available to Mentor

I am currently living and working in Basel, Switzerland as a Senior Architect and Interior Design Leader at Oppenheim Architecture Europe, focused on commercial and residential projects. Previously, I spent five years with Auckland practice Fearon Hay, specialising in Hotel/Hospitality and Multi-Residential projects. In 2015 I founded PORTICO, a website for aspiring architects. Portico goes beyond standard 'how-to' resources, seeking to make architectural education accessible, and grappling with specific aspects of architectural education including mental health, tutor relationships and career decisions. I am interested in the relationships between architectural practice and education, and in how a sense of self is cultivated through and plays a part in design processes. I am also interested in the contexts and values that inform and are reinforced through specific modes of architectural practice. I take great joy in teaching and supporting student and young architect development, and in investigating alternative pedagogies that facilitate richer outcomes for students and the discipline. I hope to pursue further research in these areas in the future. I maintain an ongoing relationship with universities throughout New Zealand and internationally, and am often engaging in tutoring, critiquing, moderation and review. I have presented at international conferences and have various work published in a range of formats: web, journals, conference proceedings and book chapters.

Project Title
Doorway to the Built Environment
In reaction to crises of legitimacy, built environment professionals evoke an inside/outside boundary between themselves and ‘the public.’ This thesis project addresses the disengagement of publics from architecture through design exploration, focusing on the tactic of dialogue. The project is underpinned by an understanding of publics as multi-vocal, competing and shifting, and tests the implications of this understanding for conceptions and possibilities of architectural space. Framed by Michel de Certeau’s writing on strategies and tactics, these research is developed through an investigatory design in Post Office Square, Wellington, New Zealand. The Doorway to the Built Environment is a non-prescriptive space for dialogues, exhibitions, productions, questions and investigations concerning the built environment to be generated. Five design tactics, performativities, embededdness, reaching, spacing and transitioning, are investigated as means of engaging publics in dialogues and re-thinking status quo relations. As a whole, the thesis sheds light on the inter-connectedness of architectural productions, relations, legitimacies and valuations to broader socio-cultural climates. Architectural design is revealed as a potentially performative, tactical and multiple practice which is capable of, and richer for, public engagements. The thesis serves as a critical resource to prompt further debate about the challenges of positively increasing engagements between publics and architectures.
Year of Completion